If you’re desperate to quite your job, it can be tempting to leave before you have another one lined up.
There’s a lot to think about including income, your well-being and beyond. Consider your situation from all angles and, seek professional career advice if necessary so you have a proper plan and some confidence going forward.
What are the signs that you should just resign?
Here are seven reasons to quit your job even if you don’t have another one to go to.
1. Your current job is physically or emotionally unsafe.
If you’re being mistreated at work and you can prove it, you may be able to leave and still get unemployment compensation. Being forced out of a job due to poor treatment is called constructive dismissal. If you’re not safe at work, you have to resign regardless of whether you’re likely to be eligible for compensation.
2. Your job is making you physically or mentally ill.
Bullying, abuse and harassment can lead to mental and physical illness of many kinds. If your symptoms persist even after taking sick leave, you need to get out. Your health is more important.
3. You don’t have the time, focus or peace of mind to launch a productive job search.
If your job is making you completely miserable, you’ll find it difficult to look for a new one because you’re stuck in a cycle of misery and inertia. It may look mad, but the only way you’re going to improve your situation is to leave your job.
4. Headhunters often call you about job opportunities.
It’s possible that even though you’ve been approached by headhunters, you’ve been too stressed and distracted to follow up on the opportunities. This is a sign that you’re in demand and could walk into another job fast.
5. You can’t reconcile your values with that of the company
It’s possible that the culture and leadership of the company you work for are completely at odds with your own. If you’re being asked to say or do things you feel are unethical, you may have to quit before you have a new job lined up.
6. You’re frequently calling in sick
Calling in sick on a regular basis is a sign that you just don’t want to be there anymore. Apart from anything else, it’s almost impossible to search for a new job when your energy is this depleted by your current job.
7. Your body rebels and says “No more!”
When work is making you ill, you need to listen and act accordingly. Trust your gut. You know you can’t keep doing this and it’s time to get out. Even if you fear not having a job, you’ll be able to recover and move on to new and better things when you’re away from a toxic environment.
Leaving your job when you don’t have another one lined up isn’t a sign of failure, it’s simply a recognition that change is necessary. If possible, make sure you’ve got something behind you so you don’t end up panicking about how to pay the bills. It would also be worthwhile seeing a career consultant who can help you plan and find a better job faster.
Are you jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire?
Leaving your job is a very tempting proposition when every day feels like a month and you dread going to work every day. But there are times when you need to dig a bit deeper to ensure that in escaping one bad situation, you’re not running straight into another.
This can happen when you have unresolved issues or problems.
For example, if you keep getting side-lined for promotion, it may be due to your lack of confidence. Until you confront this and learn to brand and present yourself in a way that conveys your value to others, it doesn’t matter where you work, you’ll still get side-lined.
There’s also no point in leaving one job and moving onto another unless you know what isn’t working for you. Maybe you hate the industry, maybe you hate the work… there are lots of reasons why you might hate your job. So figure out what that is before you move on. Otherwise you might end up in another toxic environment.
You also need to learn to set some boundaries with those around you if you’re feeling overworked or set upon by others in your workplace. Think about what you need and how you need to protect yourself before deciding to move on.
I just quit my job! Now what?
When you’ve just quit your job, it’s tempting to take any job you can get, go to a heap of inappropriate interviews, and take the first offer that comes along. This won’t get you anywhere. You left your job for a reason, you were unhappy, unfulfilled, bored… there were probably a lot of reasons.
Before you do anything else, give yourself time to reflect. After all, you don’t want to replace one toxic situation with another. Yet that’s exactly what you’ll do if you just grab the first thing that comes along.
Ask yourself what lies behind your need to get another job fast? The answer will probably be fear. Fear that you’ll starve or end up homeless. Fear that you’ll never get another job. Fear that you’re somehow weak or lacking in some way. Instead, focus on the opportunity you have now: the opportunity to create something new and better for yourself.
Use your safety net
Hopefully, you have a safety net in place. It might be in the form of savings, going back to live with your parents for a while or taking on low-stress ad hoc or part-time work. Before you quit, talk everything through with those involved before you go ahead. If possible, put a limit on this period so you have a definite end-point to it.
Admit it when you’re feeling anxious
Feeling anxious about your decision to quit your job is normal and to be expected, so don’t dismiss these feelings. Acknowledge them and remind yourself that you need this time to discover what that ‘better’ looks like for you.
Set short-term goals
When you start thinking about big changes, it helps to set some short-term goals too. This will help you focus your mind and give you some confidence-boosting ‘wins’ along the way to the new and better life you’re building for yourself.
Try things out
When you’re looking for something new, it can feel overwhelming. But the best way to get answers to big questions is by trying new things. That small job or volunteering session could spark ideas and opportunities you couldn’t get by just thinking about them.
Certainty doesn’t exist
The truth is that you’ll rarely feel 100 per cent sure about your choices. Life is varied, it presents us with random events and it can feel unpredictable. That’s what makes life exciting. When you stop looking for certainty, you can make choices based on what you want rather than what you need – or think you need.
Turning back, is it an option?
Your immediate thought after quitting your job could be to go back and ask to stay on. Panic and fear are most likely driving you if that’s the case. But if something significant changes (like your boss leaves or a bigger company takes over the one you worked for) you may want to return for positive reasons.
Leave on good terms
As you never know what might happen in the future, try to leave your job on good terms and don’t burn your bridges. This is especially important if your industry is small and you plan to stay in it. Your reputation can easily get skewed by gossip so don’t give anyone ammunition to throw it at you.
There are things you can do to ensure you leave well.
- Avoid leaving in spirit before you leave physically.
- Make the transition easy by leaving great handover notes.
- Make an effort to stay in touch with your colleagues – apart from anything else, industry contacts and glowing references will help you get your next job, even if it’s in another field.
Leaving a job without giving notice
Ideally, you would always give notice if you intend to leave, but there are some circumstances in which you may need to leave immediately. These include:
- If another employee, manager or supplier has been abusive.
- Your work environment isn’t physically safe.
- Stress, bullying or exhaustion are damaging your health.
- You’re not being paid as agreed.
- You’ve been asked to do something unethical or illegal.
- You need to leave your job because of family circumstances.
- You’ve experienced a crisis in your life, so you can’t continue in your job.
However, even in these situations, it helps if you contact Human Resources or talk to senior managers to discuss what’s going on before you just leave. Also, although the company can’t force you to stay, you may not be eligible for unemployment benefits if you leave without having a good reason, so it’s worth considering the impact of leaving suddenly.
Is it better to resign or wait for redundancy?
There’s a big dose of ‘it depends’ around the answer to this question because your personal situation will dictate what’s best for you. Things you may need to think about include:
- How good is the redundancy package likely to be?
- Have you been offered a good job in another company that you want?
- Do you need to have an income, no matter what?
- Are you desperate to get out but want the redundancy pay?
- Has redundancy been in the air for a while but is failing to materialise?
If a good opportunity has come along, waiting for redundancy may not be in your best interests. However, if you’re ready for a change and the redundancy pay-out will enable you to make that change, you might decide to hang on so you can make the most of the opportunity.
Wait for redundancy if:
- You want to change direction in your career, travel, use the money to fund training or education or if you want to set up a business.
- The redundancy package will give you some much-needed time away from work that you need for your health or wellbeing.
- You’re confident you’ll find another role quickly and the pay-out will be useful for paying off debts, saving for a mortgage or for time off to bring up your children.
Don’t wait for redundancy if:
- You have already secured another role and the redundancy package is likely to be insignificant to you financially.
- The market is likely to be flooded with your colleagues after the redundancy, which will make it much harder for you to get a new job.
- Maintaining your salary is more important than having a bit of extra cash in the bank.
Making the final decision
Quitting your job is a big decision so give yourself time to think about all the consequences before you act. If possible, get professional advice and support that allows you to make the transition from your existing role to a new and better one quickly and easily.
If you do decide to leave your job without having another one lined up, don’t shout about it at work. It’ll simply look immature and cut off any other avenues that might be available to you. Bear in mind that a critical factor might change causing you to reconsider.
When you do leave, think about how you can do so on a positive note. Your life isn’t all about your job. It’s about more than that – and you are more than your job.
We offer lots of packages to help you align your career with your inner values and purpose. In these times of turbulent change, it is best to ensure that your career is in alignment with what you feel you can offer to the work world. Do reach out to us for help or advice, if you are unsure of what to do.